Ceramic Industry

INSIDE CI: Procrastination Doesn't Pay

September 1, 2008
The monthly roundup from Editor-in-Chief Susan Sutton.

The front right tire on my car has been nearly flat for going on a year now. Whenever I go to get my oil changed, the attendant always very kindly reminds me that I need to get it checked out. I don’t know why I’m so reticent to look into it. I’m sure that, by now, it’s past the patching point and will need to be replaced, which will also undoubtedly necessitate the purchase of a second new tire, since apparently they need to match. (I vaguely remember the mechanic saying something like that during my last tire purchase, when they refused to rotate my previous set of tires for safety reasons. I guess no amount of rotating can make almost completely bald tires fit for the road.)

If I’d just taken the car in when this first started, I’d now be driving on a decent tire and I wouldn’t be obsessing about the fact that I need to take it in. And the whole procedure would probably have cost at least half as much as it’s now going to cost me since I’ve made matters worse by putting it off for so long. The old ostrich-head-in-the-sand routine is not doing me any favors.

Similarly, manufacturers that are not proactively looking for ways to weather the current economic storm through the diversification of their product base or the reduction of energy consumption, for example, are kidding themselves. Energy prices are not going to demonstrably decrease any time soon, and the economy isn’t going to turn around on a dime. We must work smarter.

Case in point: a fused silica producer recently expanded its facilities to meet the increasing demand for the burgeoning solar energy market, and the project included the addition of new periodic kilns that feature pulse-fired burners and fuel-efficient combustion systems. Learn more in “Efficient Firing Solution.”

Similarly, microwave processing can offer some manufacturers reduced costs and shorter firing cycles compared to traditional firing. Studies have shown potential cost savings ranging from $48,000 to $358,000 annually. “Ride the Wave” has the details.

Manufacturers can also optimize their firing processes by incorporating advanced kiln furniture systems to suit their specific applications. Concepts like geometry, density, composition and grain structure all have an impact, and understanding them will help manufacturers increase the life of their kiln furniture. See “The Heat Is On” for more.

New Editor's Blog

I’m so excited to announce the launch of our new Editor’s Blog on CI's website at www.ceramicindustry.com. I’ll be exploring topics ranging from pressing industry issues and news to more general information regarding the economy, the housing crunch and more. Please post your comments, start a discussion and help build dialogue.

The Editor’s Blog will also periodically feature Guest Bloggers, and we’re actively seeking volunteers. Whether you want to sound off on recent world events or bring an important industry issue to the forefront, readers will benefit from your insights and experiences. Please contact me at (330) 336-4098 or suttons@bnpmedia.com for details on how to become a Guest Blogger.